Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 2, 2023
Kurt Volkhart was a German designer who had an understanding of aerodynamics. In the 1930s, he had come up with a small sports car he called the V1, but it never went beyond the prototype stage.
After the war, Volkhart resumed his aerodynamic work, this time basing his “V2” on an early Volkswagen Beetle (technically a wartime KDF 60) chassis. The slippery aluminum body was designed by Konig von Fachsenfeld. It has one of the lowest coefficients of drag ever recorded for a road car.
Power is supplied by a rear-mounted 1.1-liter flat-four good for 24 horsepower. This little thing was good for 88 mph, which was faster than the first Porsches. It was used as a daily driver for six years before being parked in the early 1950s.
A restoration in the 2010s took it back to its original silver color (from an older green repaint). Bonhams says this was the only one built (other random places state two). What it will bring is anyone’s guess. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Classics | Buxton, U.K. | April 27, 2022
Sunbeam-Talbot existed as a marque between 1935 and 1954. It was formed when the Rootes Group merged Sunbeam and Talbot together. By the mid-1950s, Talbot-Lago‘s existence made things confusing, so Talbot was dropped from English-built cars and Sunbeam existed for decades to come.
The 2-Litre was available from 1939 to 1948, with a break for the war. Power is from a 1.9-liter inline-four capable of 56 horsepower in post-war spec. Three body styles were offered, including this tourer, which was restored in the 1980s.
There were 1,306 examples of the 2-Litre built, and just eight are known to exist in the U.K. This one carries an estimate of $20,000-$26,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Tulsa, Oklahoma | June 11-12, 2021
Henry J. Kaiser had many successful businesses before getting into automobiles, including a construction company that built the Hoover Dam along with Kaiser Shipyards, Kaiser Aluminum, and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser-Frazer Motors’ first year of production was 1947, and two models were offered on the Kaiser side of things: the Special and Custom.
These models were some of the first fresh post-war designs, and the higher-spec Custom retailed for $2,301. It’s powered by a 3.7-liter inline-six rated at 100 horsepower when new. The Custom was much rarer than the Special, with only 5,412 produced (compared to over 65,000 Specials).
This one is said to be largely original. Kaiser ran into financial problems in 1949 and everything declined thereafter, although some of their designs were still quite solid. This launch-year Kaiser looked pretty sharp when it was new (they were styled by Howard “Dutch” Darrin, after all). And they are still pretty interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | May 20, 2021
Many early Allard models look… similar. And by early, I mean those built after WWII. The K1 went on sale in 1946 and lasted until 1948/1949. It was intended to be a street car, and it kind of looked like a passenger-car version of the J1/J2. But the example we have here was modified as a vintage race car in the 1990s.
There were different engine options offered, and this car has a 4.5-liter Mercury V8 that’s been slightly modified and is said to make 200 horsepower. There was a long-wheelbase, four-seat version of the K1 also offered, and it was called the L-Type.
Only 151 examples of the K1 were produced. This one has been used pretty regularly for the last ~20 years, which is a pretty good sign. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.
Piero Dusio’s Cisitalia got its start by building tiny open-wheel race cars. In fact, the D46 was their first attempt at building a race car. And it was groundbreaking. It featured a tubular spaceframe chassis, which was something new in the open-wheel world.
The cars scored victories all over Europe in 1946 and 1947. Some of them continued racing into the 1950s season, even though Cisitalia had introduced other cars – and eventually road cars. Power is from a Fiat 1.1-liter inline-four. It’s a tiny engine, but with the chassis built the way it is, the car is light. It didn’t need a ton of power to be competitive.
This car is said to have been raced by Harry Schell back in its competition days and later spent time in Australia. In the 1960s, it returned to Europe, remaining with an owner for 40 years before the current owner bought it in 2003.
I’ve been waiting to feature one of these for some time, so it’s a treat that it has popped up. The pre-sale estimate is $180,000-$240,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1947 Mercury Series 79M Marmon-Herrington 4×4 Wagon
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | January 23, 2021
Mercury’s immediate pre- and post-war models consisted of the “Eight.” They are often referred to by their series name, and 1947’s was the 79M. You could go downtown and buy a Mercury or two. Or five, as that’s how many body styles of the 79M were offered, including a station wagon.
The wagons were rare. Only 3,558 were built for the model year. They were all powered by 3.9-liter V8s rated at 100 horsepower. What makes this one special is also the reason this one looks so incredibly badass. Two words: Marmon. Herrington.
Ford even sold them through their dealerships. The price included a whopping 100% markup. Meaning this car would’ve cost $4,414 when new. Only three 1946-1948 Marmon-Herrington Mercurys are known to exist. This one was once part of the Nick Alexander collection and is now selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by H&H Classics | Online | November 25, 2020
Well, last week we featured a lot of commercial vehicles. I said that we’d pick it up again on Monday. It’s now Tuesday, but here we are. The Tiger is a model of bus produced by Leyland Motors between 1927 and 1968, and again from 1981 through 1992. They looked different over the years, and this front-engined Tiger is of the post-war PS variety.
It is said to be one of two known survivors with coachwork by Barnaby (of four built). It was part of a private bus line for its commercial career, and it is powered by a 7.4-liter diesel inline-six.
This bus was restored in the 2000s, and it was restored to “bus-spec” and not converted into an RV like so many old buses have been. I’m a big fan of classic busses, and despite this one being overseas, I dig it a lot. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $26,000-$31,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | July 10-18, 2020
Emil Diedt was a California-based fabricator whose name is closely associated with post-war racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This car, the Blue Crown Spark Plugs Special, competed at Indy in four consecutive years, from 1947 through 1950. It’s results were:
1947 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Bill Holland)
1948 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Holland)
1949 Indianapolis 500 – 1st (with Holland)
1950 Indianapolis 500 – 2nd (with Holland)
That’s the mark of a pretty dominant car. It’s powered by a 270ci Offenhauser inline-four that drives the front wheels, thus pulling the car through corners instead of pushing it. This car wears its Indy-winning livery and has spent time in the IMS museum, where it ultimately belongs.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alcacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019
HRG Engineering was founded in 1936 by Edward Halford, Guy Robins, and Henry Ronald Godfrey, whose initials comprise the company’s name. Godfrey’s experience included stints at GN and Frazer Nash.
HRG‘s output was low – only 241 cars produced between 1935 and 1956. Six models were offered, including the 1945-1949 Aerodynamic as seen here. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four from Singer and wears bodywork from Fox & Nicholls.
The car was discovered by the current owner in 1989 and restored. Prior to that, it had Portuguese race history in the 1940s and 50s. Only 45 examples of the Aerodynamic were produced, and with an active HRG owners group, they don’t change hands that often. Click here for more info and here for more from this collection.
1947 Delahaye 135MS Narval Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
If this car were to be built today, it would ride about four inches lower. At least. That upside-down bathtub styling just looks right at home sucking on the ground. But the roads were different in 1947. Especially in France. And who am I to nitpick a Figoni et Falaschi design?
The Delahaye 135MS is powered by a 3.6-liter inline-six probably making about 145 horsepower. These cars were produced both before and after the war, technically from about 1938 through the end of Delahaye production in 1954.
The “Narval” name, if you haven’t figured it out, alludes to the car’s somewhat narwhal-like appearance. Only seven such Delahayes were bodied like this, and this one has been in the same hands for the last 50 years. It’s a million-dollar car, no doubt. You can see more about it here and more from Mecum’s Monterey sale here.